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‘Cardinal Newman is praying for you’ Archbishop Longley assures candidates at Rite of Election

Archbishop Bernard Longley celebrated the Rite of Election for the first time as Archbishop of Birmingham in the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham on the First Sunday of Lent, 21 February.

Names from over fifty parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Birmingham represented were proclaimed by the two deacons before Archbishop Longley welcomed the candidates, sponsors, families, friends and their parish priests to the special service.

The Rite of Election marks the beginning of the candidates final period of preparation for the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist at the Easter Vigil as members of the Catholic Church.

During the ceremony the candidates, family members and sponsors came forward in parishes to the foot of the sanctuary where they were introduced by their parish priest to Archbishop Longley, Bishop Pargeter, retired Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham or Bishop Kenney, CP, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham.

The Archbishop of Birmingham and his two assistant bishops warmly greeted everyone and had a word of encouragement for the candidates.

In his homily, Archbishop Longley said: ‘For those of you who are to be baptised into full communion and confirmed, this time of preparation takes on a unique character. It is the final stage of preparation before you are welcomed into the family of the Catholic Church in our diocese. So Lent offers you an opportunity to reflect in prayer upon the pathway that your life has taken with the Holy Spirit leading you to this moment.’

The Archbishop added: ‘It is also significant that you will become Catholics during this year in which the Holy Father will beatify the Venerable John Henry Newman, whom the Holy Spirit also led into full communion with the Catholic Church. It is a happy coincidence that today, the day of your Rite of Election, is also the anniversary of the birth of Cardinal Newman on 21 February 1801, I am sure that his prayers are offered for you today.’

Appropriately the service in the packed St Chad's Cathedral began with the great hymn, ‘Praise to the Holiest in the Height’, by Cardinal Newman, set to music by Sir Edward Elgar.


Bishop Kenney, Bishop Pargeter and Archbishop Longley mingle with the candidates of the Rite of Election on the First Sunday of Lent, 21 February.

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